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Why Ron and Don want you to buy a bed this week

Seattle officers Ryan Gallagher and Jeremy Wade finish setting up a donated bed during a previous Beds for Kids drop off. (MyNorthwest)
LISTEN: Poker, a robbery and Seattle's Beds for Kids

I’m a serious recreational poker player. I love the competition. And I love to win money, always have.

One of the most crucial skills in winning at the game is play with balance. There are entire books written about it, but in a nutshell, it’s all about being as tough as possible to play against.

It’s about balancing out the times you bluff versus the times you have a good hand. For instance, if you’re playing against an 80-year-old grandma, and she bets big, fold. She’s never bluffing. Likewise, against a player that doesn’t like to fold, wait till you have a good hand, then bet big. They will pay you off.

“Cool story bro,” but what are we talking about here?

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Believe it or not, we’re talking about why Don and I do things like Beds for Kids. For me it’s all about balance.

If I’m honest, especially when we started in radio, when I was in my mid-20s, I didn’t really care about helping other people. My plate was full just trying to figure out how to do a radio show and making sure I could pay my bills. A good cause like Beds for Kids wasn’t on my radar. That all changed for me one crisp day in January 1999. Don and I were doing a show in San Francisco and trying to figure out what kind of show we wanted to be. At the time, shock jocks like Howard Stern were the king of the hill.

“Maybe that’s what we do?” we thought to ourselves. “Become shock jocks.”

Then while we were on the air on Friday January 15, 1999 all hell broke loose right outside our window. Let me read from the San Francisco Gate: “A bungled bank holdup in downtown San Francisco ended yesterday in a barrage of gunfire that left one robber dead, two police officers wounded and a Good Samaritan hospitalized and fighting for his life.

The stick-up took place in a Bank of America branch at New Montgomery and Market Streets shortly after 5 p.m. and spilled out into the street, where dozens of shots were exchanged between the gunman and a squad of responding police officers.

When the shooting ended, Buford White, a 45-year-old Oakland resident, lay mortally wounded; police officers Dennis O’Mahony and Mark Cota, both 30, had suffered leg wounds; and 26-year-old Anthony Garcia, the Good Samaritan, had been shot in the head.”

As you can imagine, this caught our attention. We talked about it for the rest of the show. The street outside the studio window was crawling with emergency vehicles, police and SWAT. It was bonkers.

Over that weekend, we learned that the Good Samaritan, Anthony Garcia, was a big listener of the Ron & Don Show. His family reached out to us worried about him and how they were going to pay for the medical bills after he was shot.

Again from the SF Gate story:

“According to police and eyewitnesses, either one or two masked gunman entered the bank just before closing, demanding cash. At some point, Garcia tried to tackle White and a struggle ensued. It ended when White stepped back, carefully aimed a large-caliber pistol and shot Garcia twice in the face.

Pandemonium followed, as scores of screaming bank customers fled into the streets.

‘The Good Samaritan either tried to intercede with this bank robbery right before it happened or right after,’ said homicide inspector Holly Pera. ‘The Good Samaritan was in line. He tackled the suspect. He ended up getting shot.'”

Beds for Kids

Don and I made a decision that weekend that has shaped the Ron & Don Show ever since. The kind of show we wanted to be wasn’t a couple of shock jocks. The kind of show we wanted to be helped people. That’s the day cause radio was born. We raised money for Anthony because he acted heroically in that bank. It was the right thing to do.

Today, we’re asking you to buy a bed for a kid. Beds for Kids is run through the Seattle Police Department. Officers actually take beds to children that do not have any. And yes, there are a lot of kids in Seattle without a bed.

This is how I balance my life. For all the times I criticize the mayor, or talk about how dumb some policy is, I balance it out by being a part of something bigger than myself.

If you need some balance in your life, text the words BEDS to 98973, and buy a bed for a child. It will give you balance. It’s the right thing to do.

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